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How Websites Make Money

by Paul J. Scott

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If you are visiting a company like ours with the intention of building a new business website, then you’re probably hoping it’s eventually going to make money. But, how exactly is that going to happen?

Many new clients come to us without a good answer to this question. That’s understandable, but it’s something we have to get to the bottom of before we can create a website that will be good for their business. Of course, there are a lot of different models out there for monetizing websites, but here are some of the most common ways companies turn pages into new revenue…

Through Online Sales

Probably the most obvious way to make money from a website is by having products that are sold online. These can be physical products, digital downloads, or even services of some kind. But if they’re going to sell, they have to be understood by customers, and able to be delivered or fulfilled within a reasonable amount of time.

By Generating Qualified Leads

For businesses with more complex or expensive products and services, it might make more sense to generate inquiries from landing pages instead of actual sales. Of course, for these to be of value, they have to be qualified – the potential customers you’re bringing in need to be ones who are likely to eventually make a purchase or open an account.

With Sales of Subscriptions

If you have information that is proprietary, specialized, or continually updated, you might be able to sell subscriptions to your website. In many industries, people will pay for breaking news and insights. Additionally, you could designate portions of your website as description only, and generate revenue from buyers who want access to premium content.

Profiting from Ads

Sometimes a website can be valuable because of the traffic it generates, and the type of customers who use it. If the reach is wide or deep enough, advertisers might pay big money to have their images and banners displayed. For instance, a website specializing in certain types of banking or real estate can draw funds from outside parties who want to generate leads without posting their own content.

Through the Sale of the Website Itself

If you can turn your website into a large online resource, or trusted destination for news and ideas, then you may be able to develop a committed following over time. Then, a colleague or advertiser might be willing to purchase your website outright because it has the potential to help them reach more buyers. This is a long-term strategy, but one that can be extremely profitable when used correctly.

This isn’t an entirely exhaustive list of website monetization strategies, and it’s possible you can come up with some different tactics or business models that aren’t as common (or even something that hasn’t been tried yet). It’s also possible you’ll use multiple tactics as a way to turn web traffic into cash.

What matters most, though, is that you have some idea of who your website is for and how you’ll profit from it. That one piece of knowledge can make everything else in the design and development process that much easier. So, how will your web presence bring fresh revenue to your business?

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